Dealing with Fads, Fixes, and Fakes (Health Tails Around The New Year)

Living Truth Inquirer

“New Year, New You!”


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Is there any time of year more obsessed with health habits than the New Year? Even the “beach body” craze of late May doesn’t reach the same level of hype. January is the time for endless New Year’s resolutions and pacts with oneself to improve this or change that.  Every time you turn the corner, businesses in the health and wellness industries are trying to get you to try a class, a supplement, a shake, a piece of equipment, a diet, a lifestyle … and it can be exhausting trying to figure out what’s effective and what’s bogus. The New Year is something of a clean slate. It’s perfectly normal to look forward to a fresh start in January, but here’s a little guidance on whether to put money down on that hot new habit after the holidays.

Does it promise quick fixes?

If whatever you’re thinking of trying swears you’ll get the desired result in no time at all, you can be sure you’re entering into scam territory. The human body is based on homeostasis. It can change, and it does, but most of those changes occur over time. If you’ve been out of shape for five years, don’t expect to get back in shape in five weeks. That’s just not how the body works. Things that cause fast changes in the body (like surgery and drugs) require a physician to administer them; for a reason.

Does it promise a “Cure-All”?

There are diets that can help you lose weight. There are exercise routines that can help you gain muscle and strength. There are massages that can help you relax and manage your stress levels. But if someone is selling One Amazing Thing that will evaporate your fat, increase your happiness, straighten your posture, whiten your teeth, and cure your cancer? You can be sure it’s not worth your money. Don’t pay a Magical Thinking Tax for exaggerated claims.


Does it rely on conspiracy theories for marketing?

Conspiracies can be fun to read about, but if the main selling point is that “doctors hate it” or “Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know about this,” it’s probably not the best addition to your life. Why? Because you and your physician (and your dentist, your massage therapist, your personal trainer, your nutritionist ...) are part of your health and wellness team. If any one of them refuses to be a team player, they’re not doing what’s best for you. If you haven’t heard much about a particular tool, ask a personnel on your health team. They are the people you trust most with your health. If your health team hasn’t recommended a particular tool it’s likely that the tool doesn’t work or isn’t useful for you.

Does it fit your life, your budget, your goals, and your understanding of reality?

If yes, then this is something worth looking into, whether it’s a massage membership, a healthy meal plan service, or a habit tracking app. Ultimately, we try things out and see how they work for us over the long haul. Not everything will be a perfect fit, but at least we can weed out some of the resolutionist marketing malarkey and move forward with our best efforts into the New Year.